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Iron Viz – Books & Literature

It’s that time of the year… Iron Viz time!

For those who don’t know, Iron Viz is a Tableau data visualisation competition where you have 4 weeks to investigate a subject (set by Tableau) and visually present your findings to the wider community via Tableau Public. The winner of each one of the three Iron Viz rounds is then selected to participate on the Tableau conference stage competition and produce a visualization within 20 minutes and using a common dataset.

For the first time ever, I knew straight away what I wanted to do for my submission.

The viz/ analysis I had envisioned, was something I had on my to do list for quite some time: the analysis of the brothers Grimm tales and the proximity/ disparity with the ‘Disneyfied’ version of those tales.

May my IronViz adventure begin:


The first attempt consisted of two main steps:

1 – Data Collection

2 – Cross- check the Disney movies with the Grimm versions of the folklore tales and verify if they were in fact based on the Grimms version of the tales or not. Unfortunately, these were scarce, and the analysis no longer made sense.

The Ironviz had officially reached a dead end! So much for my initial optimism.

Was now time to regroup and rethink what to do next.


What I want to get from the Iron Viz?:

  1. Try some new charts

  2. Analyze book structure and its narrative

What would be a good book/ novel to analyze? Some classics, fiction preferably.

I then decided to analyze two books from Jules Verne, the ‘Journey to the center of the earth’ and the ‘Around the world in 80 days’.

Those novels would complement each other and allow an explorative adventure of the underground and overground world.

Even before looking at the data, I started to imagine how could I visualize and how I would drive my creative process.


Given that one story was about the exploration of the Earth’s underground, and the other tale was at surface level, I imagined one visualization with two background colors: dark blue for the underground story and a white/cream background for the ‘surface’ story.


The need for a timeline was also evident and it was something where I wanted to step away from the lollipop visualization.


The data had to be collected by hand for both novels, being a long process


I wanted to try some of the charts that had been popular over the last year within the community. It was an opportunity to learn new things


For this project I was inspired by many community people. People like Russell Spangler that always manages to amaze all of us with his original and sleek visualizations, Kelly Martin and Bridget Cogley with their colour palettes and design techniques, Rody Zakovich with unconventional type of charts.

It was with basis on the diamond waffle chart from Neil Richards that I created my waffle charts for each character. Rody’s radial charts has been something that I always wanted to try and now I had the chance to use it to analyze the type of dialogue by character and chapter.

around the world viz


Images and icons were where possibly I spent more time. Customizing them and/or building them from scratch.

I used a globe where each number had one icon that was the visual representation of the country/ place where Mr.Fogg had stopped or passed by.

eiffel tower


Once I had a basic structure for my Iron Viz entry, I reached out to the community once again. Russel made me think about the white space and how I could tie the analysis together. David Pires, made me realize that I needed to have greater emphasis between different areas of the viz and Sophie Sparkes alerted me for consistency between several elements on the viz.

Overall, it was an interesting and fun project to be part off, where the community not only was a source of inspiration but also a sounding board for exchanging ideas and improve/ correct some practices.

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